Ireland’s yes to the Lisbon Treaty was emphatic (albeit at the second time of asking): 67% voted to approve it, with just two of the 43 constituencies rejecting it, on an icnreased turnout of 58%.
Nick Clegg was quick to welcome the result – and to note the awkward situation David Cameron now finds himself in:
This result finally puts to rest years of wrangling over Europe’s future and paves the way for a stronger and more democratic European Union.
“The worst thing would be to re-open this self-indulgent debate. David Cameron should now finally accept the treaty as a fact of life instead of plotting with Eastern European nations to have it blocked. The Conservatives are already embarrassing themselves and Britain with their petulant impotence on Europe.
“Big issues like the economic crisis, climate change and cross-border crime cannot be tackled by any country on its own. The EU offers us safety in numbers and this is why best place for Britain remains at the very heart of Europe.”
David Cameron has emailed his members in anticipation of Ireland’s yes vote, in an attempt to quell the overwhelming clamour for a tougher Eurosceptic stance from the Tory leadership over their post-ratification plans:
I want to make one thing clear: there will be no change in our policy on Europe and no new announcements at the Conference. There will be no change in Conservative policy as long as the Lisbon Treaty is still not in force. The Treaty has still not been ratified by the Czechs and the Poles. The Czech Prime Minister has said that the constitutional challenge before the Czech Constitutional Court could take 3-6 months to resolve.
I have said repeatedly that I want us to have a referendum. If the Treaty is not ratified in all Member States and not in force when the election is held, and if we are elected, then we will hold a referendum on it, we will name the date of the referendum in the election campaign, we will lead the campaign for a ‘No’ vote.
If the Treaty is ratified and in force in all Member States, we have repeatedly said we would not let matters rest there. But we have one policy at a time, and we will set out how we would proceed in those circumstances if, and only if, they happen.
So there we go, then: if Lisbon is ratified, Mr Cameron “will not let matters rest”. That’s cleared that up, hasn’t it. Good job the Tory leader believes in straight-talking, or who knows what convoluted formula he’d have come up with in an attempt to buy himself a bit more time.